Archive for January, 2010

Love God Freedom End of Life Story Redemption Chapter Finis

January 25, 2010

I’m taking a break from posting. I can’t say when or if I will return. (In terms of further reading, I suggest my Voice of the We of Divinity post.) My conversation with the Devil comes to an end here. The devil, in all this, has been my creative attempt to give voice to the ~b of ~bb in freedom’s dialectic at the level of b~b~bb, and, as such, “soul” in my story becomes the equivalent of that which connects human beings to God. The problem is that what connects God to humans also separates humans from “self” (self as the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self) and God. Free will and self-consciousness, however, follow from this separation. We have the “option to choose,” and, of course, choice carries with it a lifetime of baggage which determines “how we choose.” Nevertheless, choice falls between good and evil and if per chance it should land in the neighborhood of evil, civilization provides law and order to counter harm and mayhem. Again, in terms of freedom’s dialectic, the ~b of ~bb at the level of b~b~bb is the source of meaningful symbol creation, which, in turn, opened the door to the creation of language, myth, religion, art, theoretical knowledge, and the rest of the civilizing processes that we call civilization. This ongoing self-liberation is not only embedded in civilization, it is also embedded in the aesthetic continuum and it is here that the true meaning of life will ultimately be found. The gorgeous sunset that sometimes swells our eyes to tears is not just a product of the spinning earth; it is also part of the spontaneous, pulsating, emotion that flows from the whole of the aesthetic continuum. Inspiration for the poet, painter, and musician comes not from cerebral musings, but rather from the empowering emotion that inspires life, imagination, and awe. The strength and resolve necessary to create a better world is not found in analysis and calculation, but rather in the empowering emotion that calls us to love, beauty and truth. The immediately grasped, emotionally moving ground out of which all things arise–the aesthetic component of our experience–beckons us to seek the impossible, express the unspeakable, and imagine the inconceivable. The ~b of ~bb at the level of b~b~bb, — or the voice of the devil in my story—is the voice of Divinity made whole in consciousness, and, as such, this voice is not the traditional voice of Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil. This soul-stealing demon of tradition, rather, was the imagined product of wandering nomads lost in the desert many millenniums ago, or so says Randy Newman in his Rock Opera Faust, and I agree. However, imagination itself is a product of the ~b of ~bb, so, to put a more wholesome spin on the plight of the wandering nomads, one could say that the voice of Divinity, via the imagination, was admonishing consciousness not to stray from the divine path. Again, self-consciousness and imagination are component aspects of the voice of Divinity, but in general parlance of dialogue the word typically used to reference that voice is “conscience.” However, Divinity has a more direct and powerful voice. Divinity (when it truly speaks) speaks through the language of love. This post ends with an epilogue concerning God, love, and my description of what I have concluded to be the ultimate meaning of life.

I Surrender To The Endless Love That Binds Us All

In Your Darkness I See The Path Of Refuge-The Path To The Loving God That Beckons

Future Time Ten Concluded

“Ahhh, finis, what a sweet sound,” said MV. “Let us be off then!”

“Not so fast,” I replied, “where could I possibly go? In your darkness I see the light that shows me I have already arrived. It’s you who have kept me apart from the Lord. Nothing is separate from God, nothing except this ‘sense of separateness,’ which is you. If indeed I was separate from the Lord, I could not exist. As long as you do your work, that is, spread hate, vindictiveness, jealously, cruelty, and uncaring ways, there will be no reconciliation, no communion, no God-connectiveness. ‘Self-centeredness’ opens the door to everything except the Divine. Ego forces the Divine out of existence. That law, although not found in any textbook, says it all. As Heaven’s fallen angle, your boundary, your horizon, not only shows me how I am connected to God, it also shows me how you are kept apart from God. That is truly the mark of Satan, — the mark you are powerless to change. However, without you there would be no questioning, no progress, and no success; without you I could not ask: How can I do God’s work? With the answer to that question, though, you become a mere shadow presence. Over those who can ‘walk the talk,’ you have no power. I have paid my dues. It is your darkness that illuminates the path before me now. Your darkness points towards the refuge where you cannot trespass, toward the liberated and liberating condition of the loving God that beckons!”

“Aren’t you forgetting something? You’re dead,” MV replied. “It wasn’t out of kindness that you murdered yourself. It wasn’t love that drove you to suicide.”

“But it was,” I said. “I could not live without it. It was just a flicker, but a flicker of the real thing was, for me, a flame all-consuming. My vision was limited back then; it was simply a girl—that girl, and I didn’t understand, but that did not and will not make me your slave, and besides, slaves love, too!”

“Just think,” said MV, “if you knew back then what you know now you could have lived a different life, a real one. You do have blessings to count, though. Your memories are real. You will need them where you’re going. If you’re lucky, those memories may be consoling.”

“You poor fool,” I said. “If only you could long for beauty, yearn for completeness, or feel the need to be free, then you wouldn’t be so quick to judge me or anybody else. I have found God in the Absolute Affirmation of existence, but you can’t do that! What I see and feel you cannot see and feel. I know, like I have always known– but even more so now–that God is love. Love is what the Absolute Affirmation is all about. It is love that must be affirmed. You are not the liberator. The real liberator is love. Lover and beloved become as one in love. All opposites come together in love. Love is where real liberation takes place. There is no substitute for it. Separation does not exist there. Love is the greatest apperception. You have no power before love. Freedom, beauty, and completeness are embedded there; the psychic and the cosmic are embedded there. It is the same in death as in life, and I know that you know that, even if it is beyond you! You cannot change the unchangeable! If you want me, take me; that is… if you can. In either case, I am going home. You’re nothing compared to the eternal baptism of love! To consummation I surrender; to the unending love that binds us all, I surrender!”

Epilogue

The Word Of Revelation Is: I Am There As Whoever I Am There, Nothing More

In Truth, There Is No God-Seeking Because There Is Nothing Where One Could Not Find Him. How Foolish And Hopeless Must One Be To Leave One’s Way Of Life To Seek God: Even If One Gained All The Wisdom Of Solitude And All The power Of Concentration, One Would Miss Him

God And Love

Since the Enlightenment, minds at the cutting edge of intellectual development worship at the logic and reason alter. Emotional disturbances are either irrelevant to intellectual progress or worse– prohibit it. Our emotional nature, particularly in this Age of Reason, has been relegated to the irrational part of the animal brain. But not here—not in God’s love attribute!

Factual data, hypothesis, generalization, judgment, all the signs and symbols of language originate in and are part of our sensuous and emotional experience, our aesthetic experience. Words have histories and, if traced back far enough, those histories end in the participatory process that occurs between consciousness and the aesthetic continuum. As I have described in an earlier post, the participatory event reifies conscious objects (language being one of them) and, in the process, the environment becomes objectified. In the end, whether in metaphysical thought or discursive reason’s manipulation and formulation of signs, symbols, and ideas, it is all about the participatory event that sees, feels, understands, and acts.

For many of us, affirming God is easy. Getting to know the meaning of the relationships behind that affirmation is the all-important next step however. Fortunately, Martin Buber was there first, so I’ll let him do most of the talking here. Affirming God, for Buber, is no more difficult than affirming the ground out of which duality arises, and Buber understood this. In his book, I And Thou, he alludes to the spiritual significance of this affirmation when he says:

“Dimly we apprehend this double movement –that turning away from the primal ground by virtue of which the universe preserves itself in its becoming, and that turning toward the primal ground by virtue of which the universe redeems itself in being –as the metacosmic primal form of duality that inheres in the world as a whole in its relation to that which is not world, and whose human form is the duality of attitudes, of basic words, and of the two aspects of the world. Both movements are unfolded fatefully in time and enclosed, as by grace, in the timeless creation that, incomprehensibly, is at once release and preservation, at once bond and liberation. Our knowledge of duality is reduced to silence by the paradox of the primal mystery” (1970, p. 149).

In freedom’s dialectic, double negation, life, and the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self may be thought of as representing Buber’s turning away from the primal ground, while double negation, death, and the physical event may be thought of as turning toward the primal ground that conserves and redeems being. Affirming a transcendent God then becomes no more difficult than affirming the ground out of which duality arises, but in doing so, one is also affirming God’s immanence—God’s thou-ness.

In the human being the I-thou, I-it, aspects of the world arise. It is in “presence,” a presence other then I-it, that the eternal You achieves the power of articulation—the God-presence that occurs in and through human relationships. In, I And Thou, Buber illustrates this point often and with elegance:

“…in every You we address the eternal You, in every sphere according to its manner. All spheres are included in it, while it is included in none.” (p. 150)

“Of course, God is ‘the wholly other’; but he is also the wholly same: the wholly present. Of course, he is the mysterium tremendum that appears and overwhelms; but he is also the mystery of the obvious that is closer to me than my own I.” (p. 127)

“…in truth, there is no God-seeking because there is nothing where one could not find him. How foolish and hopeless must one be to leave one’s way of life to seek God: even if one gained all the wisdom of solitude and all the power of concentration, one would miss him.” (p. 128)

“The word of revelation is: I am there as whoever I am there. That which reveals is that which reveals. That which has being is there, nothing more. The eternal source of strength flows, the eternal touch is waiting, the eternal voice sounds, nothing more.” (p. 160)

“The encounter with God does not come to man in order that he may henceforth attend to God, but in order that he may prove its meaning in action in the world. All revelation is a calling and a mission.” (p. 164)

“God embraces but is not the universe; just so, God embraces but is not my self. On account of this which cannot be spoken about, I can say in my language, as all can say in theirs: You. For the sake of this there are I and You, there is dialogue, there is language, and spirit whose primal deed language is, and there is, in eternity, the word.” (p. 143)

The bottom line here is that communication occurs “between” God and the infinite regress of Being. God is there in my relationship with nature and God is there in my relationship with human beings, but it is in that relationship, my relationship with other people, where the highest order of communication resides, where the eternal You communicates, –in the I-thou relationship. That said, one question remains: Why all this communication? Why anything at all as opposed to nothing at all?

Language Development Follows From The Need To Express Complex Emotions

The Passionate Need To Express And Understand Life’s Meaning Drives (For Some) Their Mental Life

God And Love Continued

For me, the God qua God idea is totally incomprehensible. Emotion is another thing all together, though. Without emotions consciousness could not exist. Thinking and feeling are so entwined in consciousness that some have argued language development follows from the human need to express complex emotions. William James held that “stream of consciousness” is comprised of both thinking and feeling elements. Feeling, for James, participates in knowledge and understanding. Echoing this sentiment, in his article, Reason and Feeling, Professor Creighton explains:

“In the development of mind, feeling does not remain a static element, constant in form and content at all levels, but…is transformed and disciplined through its interplay with other aspects of experience…Indeed, the character of the feeling in any experience may be taken as an index of the mind’s grasp of its object; at the lower levels of experience, where the mind is only partially or superficially involved, feeling appears as something isolated and opaque, as the passive accompaniment of mere bodily sensations…In the higher experiences, the feelings assume an entirely different character, just as do the sensations and other contents of mind.”
(Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy In A New Key, p. 100)

Of course, there will remain an inefficacy concerning emotion and language. Language is after all a poor medium for expressing one’s emotional nature. But, when looked at holistically, it is certainly possible that myth, ritual, art, language, and the abstract logical necessities encountered in mathematics and science are products of one’s passionate need to express and expand meanings. One might even go as far as to say that the passionate need to express and understand life’s meaning drives one’s mental life. But, if true; that is, if mental life is all about discovering life’s meaning, then we will forever remain frustrated. Professor Northrop tells us why when he says:

“Now it is precisely this ineffable, emotional, moving quale that constitutes what is meant by spirit and the spiritual. Thus in order to do justice to the spiritual nature of human beings and of all things it is not necessary to have recourse to idle speculations, by means of which one tries to pierce through the glass beyond which we now see darkly, to supposedly unaesthetic material substances behind, or into some unreachable and unknowable realm where mental substances are supposed to be. On the contrary, the spiritual, the ineffable, the emotionally moving, the aesthetically vivid—the stuff that dreams and sunsets and the fragrance of flowers are made of—is the immediate, purely factual portion of human nature and the nature of all things. This is the portion of human knowledge that can be known without recourse to inference and speculative hypotheses and deductive logic, and epistemic correlations and rigorously controlled experiments. This we have and are in ourselves and in all things, prior to all theory, before all speculation, with immediacy and hence with absolute certainty.” (The Meeting of East and West, p.462)

The Need To Share The Sublime-Share Love-Answers The Question Why Exist

You Are Not The Liberator-Love Is The Real Liberator

God And Love Concluded

Staring into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy on a warm summer’s night, it is impossible not to feel the emotion. Or, again, picture yourself perched on a mountain peak, the setting sun’s soft yellow rays illuminating the range of peaks before you. In very special moments like these something happens, something sublime! What could possibly be more sublime? Perhaps sharing the sublime with others! It is, I believe, the need to share the sublime that answers the question Why Exist. But even on this mountaintop Buber was first:

“That you need God more than anything,” says Buber, “you know at all times in your heart. But don’t you know also that God needs you–in the fullness of his eternity, you? How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you for that which is the meaning of your life.” (1970, p. 130)

Sadly, for me to really appreciate Buber, I had to read him through the prism of freedom’s dialectic. Somehow that bites! But, on the other hand, look at all those people who read Jesus; how many really experience the meaning of the words: Love God with all your heart and do on to others as you would have others do on to you? Probably not many! I want to end this post by describing a relatively recent event (the meaning of which I am still struggling over). Maybe I should call it a revelatory event, or maybe not. Like the people who read Jesus but don’t hear, I’m not exactly sure how much of a revelation this was/is! Anyway, the actual event I’m about to describe took place a very long time ago. I’m going to let the woman in the event do the talking here. At the time, she was advocating a particular mystical tradition and when I begged off her invitation to join the group, she stood up and walked away. From afar I continued to watch her meander down the beach as she stayed in and out of the clinging ocean surf, but, while watching, I reached for my bag and took out pencil and paper and began to write down the highlights of our conversation. She was a strong woman, very impressive, as you can probably tell from my notes:

“Love, propelled by the beauty it creates,” (I’m paraphrasing somewhat here), “burns through the senses in music, poetry, literature, painting, dance—all artistic forms of expression follow from it. Love animates and grows. Without it, there would be no work ethic, no survival. Perhaps, someday, you will have the inclination and the time to look beyond yourself, to that world where creativity and love burn brightest. If that day comes, I dare say you will come to know that love is what the Absolute Affirmation is all about. It is love that must be affirmed. You are not the liberator. The real liberator is love. Lover and beloved become as one in love. All opposites come together in love. Love is where real liberation takes place. There is no substitute for it. Separation does not exist there. Love is the greatest apperception. You have no power before love. Freedom, beauty, and completeness are embedded there; the psychic and the cosmic are embedded there. It is the same in death as in life, and I know that you know that, even if it is beyond you! You cannot change the unchangeable!”

In freedom’s dialectic, where self-consciousness, life, and duality—the affirming structures of God—become transparent to mind, divine love emerges. Love is, according to the great mystic sage from India, Aurobindo (1892-1950), “a union of self with self, soul with soul, and spirit with spirit.” In freedom’s dialectic this union is already achieved, but experiencing the immediacy of this union in the here and now is a very rare experience indeed. For me, this experience remains only an idea, but for others, few to be sure, love is all there is!

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The Medium Of Soul End Of Life Story Chapter 6

January 23, 2010

In this, my next to last chapter before the end of my End Of Life Story, the Devil and I continue to argue over the disputed wager, but the relationship between us begins to shift. Unbeknownst to the Devil, the “condition of the possibility for the devil’s existence,” begins to unravel as the discussion moves into the more positive effects of this condition. I manage to keep my soul until after I have introduced, at the end of this chapter, the article Stranded In Flatland—A Critique of Education in Modern America [By David Fideler].

I Am All You Hold Dear And When Things Go Wrong I Am That To

You Limit Freedom And Consciousness—You Are Incompleteness

Future Time Nine Concluded

“So am I finally out of the hole? I said.

“Which hole?” replied MV.

“Remember, according to you, Matthew Broderick and I were inside Godzilla’s footprint looking for a footprint,” I responded, “but all we found was dirt.”

“Oh, that hole,” exclaimed MV. “What do you think? I’d say yes; now that you are on the outside looking in. From atop the hole, you can see the whole footprint, and taking in God’s footprint, what you see is the ‘designer of dirt!’”

“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir here! My two term reality concept made God’s footprint possible,” I responded. “But where are you in all this? In the scientific journals I don’t recall one citation with your name on it.”

“What’s unusual about that? Hate, cruelty, pain, or for that matter, beauty, justice, and goodness are not cited either,” replied MV. “Does that mean its all illusion? Does that mean what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel doesn’t exist? Sometimes you have to ask: just how smart are the smarties?”

“Okay, so where do you fit in,” I replied. “I know that as the ‘enabler of creation’ you are everywhere, but I think I’m missing some details, as you so lovingly like to remind me!”

“How can I refuse such a ‘sweet request,’” said MV. “Sometimes you’re just pathetic! You are right about one thing, though. I’m in everything. I’m earth, sky, and water. I’m food, air and sex. Without me there would be no hope, no dreams, or future. Hell, without me the ‘big bang’ would have been a ‘big fizzle.’ I am the great ‘Enabler’ and ‘Ennobler’ put together. Do you get it yet?”

“Alright already, calm down,” I said. “All I’m asking is that you fill me in on a few more details. Ok?”

“You know all you need to know,” replied MV. “First Atlas shouldered the world. Then, briefly, Hercules hefted the weight. But everybody knows that muscle, even those muscles, can not support the world. Fortunately, this problem was solved when the weight fell upon the back of the mighty turtle—and after that it was turtles all the way down. Well, I’m the shell of that turtle. Without me there would be nothing above or below!”

“Bull,” I responded, “You are the fractional nature of freedom and consciousness; you are that incompleteness! You are change and death. You are also the slayer of freedom and growth. This is where you fit in. How am I doing?”

“Not bad, but way to gory,” replied MV. “You left out what’s really important. My, my, you have forgotten so much? Without me this conversation couldn’t take place; there would be no stories, no questions, or, for that matter, no libraries, goodness, justice, or right and wrong. You also left out my potentialities, the potentialities that you, more than most, could not live without. Without me there would be no ‘shake you alive wilderness experiences,’ no sunrise, sunset, magnificence’s, and those love interests, the one’s that used to keep you awake at night, the one’s consummated only in your dreams—don’t blame me for that,– zilch, up in smoke, gone! Read my lips, nature’s nurturing is not possible without me! In fact, to see where I fit in, look at everything you hold close to your heart!

Morality, Goodness, Justice And Evil Are Products Of Free Will

Death Is Only A ‘Right Of Passage,’ A Structural Necessity, A Mere Door Separating Different Levels Of Freedom And Consciousness

Future Time Ten

“It is as you say it is,” I said. “I see now.”

“See what?” exclaimed MV.

“The whole picture,” I replied. “It seems like a lifetime ago, but I remember the moment your voice first popped into my head and said that without evil, righteousness and goodness would disappear. At the time, I thought I was going insane. But it’s true. Right and wrong, good and evil, are flip sides of the same ‘free will coin.’ Morality, goodness, justice, and evil necessarily follow from free will. It’s all about the continual structuring and liberation of an evolving universe. I see it clearly now!”

“What else do you remember from that conversation?” said MV. “Do you remember my promise? You seem to have penetrated reality’s nexus, so you must feel pretty damn good–right?”

“I feel strange. It’s a bit numbing,” I replied, “but I can live with that.”

“A hum! That’s probably a bad choice of words,” said MV. “In the overall scheme of things, nobody lives forever—if you catch my drift.”

“Well, I don’t feel bad,” I replied, “but, in a round about way, maybe we do live forever. After all, death is only a ‘right of passage,’ a structural necessity, a mere door separating different levels of freedom and consciousness, even without death, freedom and consciousness remain, albeit at a diminished level – right?”

“Have you forgotten who you are talking to,” said MV. “In this life you owe me; a pact must be obeyed. You don’t know it all, but you know enough to lose it all. Do you remember our bargain? You agreed to something back in New Orleans, what was it?”

“Yes, I remember,” I replied. “It went something like this: If God exists and pain and suffering are a necessary part of all that is righteous and good then I would willingly give up my soul in return for that ‘truth.’”

“Very good,” said MV.

“But wait, there’s more,” I exclaimed. “You also told me that because bad becomes good, the wager was a win, win, situation. In effect, by striking that bargain, I got you out of my head and in the future I would, with your help, become privy to the truth that everything is part of the Divine plan. Well, I’m there. I see that now. You’re not the Devil of old; you’re simply the structural manifestation permitting someone like me to believe that Satan exists. Other people, upon hearing of your possible existence, have the option to choose for themselves whether to believe or not to believe. Well, I have chosen not to believe, so go away; leave me alone?”

“Ignorance isn’t bliss,” responded MV. “Welching on this bet is not an option, comprende! What else did we agree to back then? Don’t strain that poor little memory of yours, I’ll tell you. Back then I said your knowledge was incomplete and you had to admit that fact before I could help you find the truth—that was part of our deal. And further, I pointed out that you possessed a total lack of knowledge when it came to matters of Divinity. Do you recall the phrase, ‘In God’s house there are many mansions?’ In that cockroach infested apartment of yours, your arrogance was hardly perceptible, but now it seems it has become your passion. You were barely worth my time back then, but now, I must admit, you make me proud. Be advised though, there will be no reneging here. Begging, however, is allowed. Win me over if you can!”

“I will not beg,” I replied, “and furthermore I admit that I do not know everything. You do agree, though, that everything is part of the Divine plan-right?”

Determining What Is Divine From What Is Purely Human Is Very Problematic

Language Is Divine, But How It Is Used, Or Can Be Used, Is Another Thing All Together– Science Too Is Divine, But Its Application Can Be Totally Profane

Future Time Ten Continued

“Yes, inside and out, the Divine plan is everywhere,” said MV, “however, as you yourself have pointed out, some things are not divine, they’re just plain human—and thank God for that!”

“Exactly, that’s my point,” I replied. “The problem is figuring out what is Divine and what isn’t. For you, retributive justice is Divine, but I only have your word for it, and quite frankly, your reputation precedes you when in comes to lying, treachery, and deceit. The rest of it, however, makes perfect sense; that is, the continual structuring of an evolving universe makes sense. Christ, I’ve even had dreams about it, or were you somehow the source of those dreams too?”

“No, your dreams are your own,” said MV. “If you need explanations, go read a book on dream physiology.”

“And that’s what dreams are about,” I replied, “the excitation of random neurons firing in the brain?”

“They certainly aren’t about free will,” said MV.

“But are they part of the Divine plan?” I replied. “I know my dream was about divinity, but was it also part of the Divine plan? I’m going to say yes because I prefer to think of it that way, but, determining what is Divine from what is purely human is very problematic. Hell, even science falls into that gray area. In science, when the boundaries between purposeful action and moral principals become blurred, science becomes a dehumanizing endeavor. In fact, I devoted a section of my thesis just to that point.”

“Here’s how it works,” MV responded. “In your dream, when you dreamt that all writing was a manifestation of the Divine, well you were right, but what gets written is not always divine. Language is Divine, but how it is used, or can be used, is another thing all together. It’s the same with science. Science is Divine, but its application can be totally profane. What I like best about science, though, is that most scientists value science as if it was a religion, and that’s fertile ground for me!”

“Like I said, I know all about that,” I replied. “In fact, let’s take a look at some of what David Fideler had to say about the downside of science. His article, Stranded In Flatland—A Critique of Education in Modern America, gets right to the point; that is, if it’s alright with you?”

“Not alright,” said MV, “but, agreeing, in the end, to a little groveling before me might persuade me to be more accommodating.”

“I’m not going to grovel,” I replied, “but after the article I’ll be ready to ‘give up the ghost,’ or whatever you want to call it. I have nothing more. How does that sound?”

“Irritating,” said MV, “but okay. Finis, I like the sound of that!”


What Is The Greatest End Or Goal Of Human Existence

Man Can Degenerate Into The Brutish Lower Forms Of Life, But He Also Possesses The Power To Be Reborn Into The Higher Forms, Which Are Divine

Excerpts From: Stranded In Flatland—A Critique of Education in Modern America [By David Fideler, Gnosis Magazine/Summer 1994]

The Cosmological Underpinnings Of Education

[“One crucial aspect of any cosmology involves the question of anthropology; in other words, what is the nature of humanity? On the practical side, the belief that you are a totally preprogrammed machine, conditioned entirely by your upbringing, and that the greatest end of existence is to acquire the maximum level of material comfort reinforces an experience of reality that will differ from that of someone who believes the most important end of human existence is the realization of understanding, insight, and creativity. Thus the question “what is man?” always leads to a further question of teleology, from the Greek telos or “end”: what is the greatest end or goal of human existence?

“From a pragmatic standpoint, no one can maintain that cosmology, anthropology, and teleology are merely abstract concepts. More than any other factors, the questions of the structure of reality, the nature of humanity, and what we should strive for in life ultimately determine how we relate to ourselves, to others, and to Nature. They determine how we experience reality, how we go about shaping the world, and what we decide to do with our lives. In short, the assumptions that we carry in these areas, both individually and collectively, condition every sphere of life, including the sphere of higher education, that hallowed domain which supposedly enshrines the highest ideals of humankind.

Education in A Hierarchical Universe

“Up through the Renaissance, the universe was viewed as an organic, hierarchical structure stretched between the extremes of spirit and matter. In addition to the linear, temporal dimension, reality was pictured as possessing a timeless, vertical dimension. This cosmology also viewed humanity as a microcosm, the entire universe in miniature; humanity not only encapsulates spirit and matter, but is seen as the mediating principle between the two extremes. As the Renaissance philosopher Pico della Mirandola notes in his Oration on the Dignity of Man, humanity possesses an infinite freedom of choice, for it can fashion itself into whatever form it prefers. Man can degenerate into the brutish lower forms of life, but he also possesses the power to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine.

“True education is implicitly based upon this traditional view of human nature, which is rooted in a metaphysical vision of man’s place in the cosmos. From this perspective, the end or goal (telos) of education is the expansion of awareness and realization of the soul’s innate potential; ultimately this is the path of initiation (telete). That is why, in practically every traditional allegory, the path of education is pictured in terms of an ascent….True education thus is not merely something that is assimilated during four years of college; rather it forms a cyclical process of cultivation and an authentic path of initiation extending for a lifetime, and perhaps even beyond.

Science And Technology—The New Materialistic Faith

Thus The Guiding Principles Of Science And Commerce Came To Be Dictated By Entirely “Pragmatic” Concerns: Empiricism On The One Hand And “Improving The Bottom Line” On The Other, A Financial Dictum That Gave Rise To The Modern Economic Ethos Of “Unlimited Growth”

Excerpts From: Stranded In Flatland—A Critique of Education in Modern America Concluded [By David Fideler, Gnosis Magazine/Summer 1994]

Education In A Two-Dimensional World

“Intimately associated with the hierarchical view of traditional cosmology is the notion that Nature is a theophany, an emanation of the divine, the best possible image of divine reality within the confines of time and space. With the so-called Enlightenment, however, a linear, reductionistic, and materialistic view of the universe arose. For most people, this eclipsed the perennial vision of a multidimensional, hierarchical cosmos, in which the various levels of being are linked together by universal harmony and sympathy. All of a sudden, we were left stranded in Flatland. And within
the new, two-dimensional cosmos, Nature came to be seen not as an already perfect theophany, but as a “natural resource,” ready to be developed by human technology. Traditional cosmology had always approached the transformation of nature through art and consciousness in an alchemical sense, which implied a corresponding transformation of both individual and culture; the new approach, on the other hand, was dictated by exploitative, commercial motives.

“The Enlightenment can be seen as a backlash against centuries of Christian repression of free intellectual inquiry. The Christian Church appropriated the hierarchical universe of traditional cosmology, but it did so with a political agenda, proclaiming itself the sole custodian of universal truth. Under the Church’s auspices, the path of philosophical inquiry was replaced with theological dogmatism, and politically enforced belief triumphed over reason and knowledge.

“The modern era began when European intellectuals rebelled and demolished the dogmatic stranglehold of “theological certainty,” but one evil was replaced with another. Fueled by centuries of pent-up potential, science and technology broke loose from ecclesiastical constraint. But because the view of a multidimensional cosmos was lost, there was little left to guide the hand of science and technology, which became subservient to the interests of business and commerce and established itself as a new, materialistic faith.

“This two-dimensional philosophy of materialism had little use for the vertical dimension of value and meaning, and limited its sights to the Promethean manipulation of the natural world through technology. Thus the guiding principles of science and commerce came to be dictated by entirely “pragmatic” concerns: empiricism on the one hand and “improving the bottom line” on the other, a financial dictum that gave rise to the modern economic ethos of “unlimited growth.”

“Only against this historical backdrop is it possible to diagnose the ills of the modern educational system, which we can now see as synonymous with those of the modern world itself. The fact that education is in trouble should not surprise us, for if true education is rooted in the old hierarchical view of reality, it simply cannot flourish—or perhaps even survive—in the current cosmological climate. Our culture, while often proclaiming high ideals, is essentially indifferent to beauty, art, education, and the spiritual dimensions of life. For example, politicians claim that we need to “raise the level of education so that we can remain globally competitive in a world economy,” but what they are really saying has nothing to do with true education, or the expansion of awareness, and everything to do with expanding economic interests. If we lived in a world that really did value education, the world itself would look and feel like a different place than it does today.

“The most telling symptom of the breakdown of the educational system is the ever-accelerating transformation of our colleges and universities into trade and business schools. Most students don’t go to college to expand their horizons or to get an education; they go to college to get a job. The anthropological assumption of our consumer culture is not that the individual is a spiritual entity with a unique relationship to multiple levels of being, but that the individual is a potential cog in the economic machine of production and consumption. Students attend universities to be exposed to the latest techniques and technologies, but they are rarely encouraged to question their own lives or cultural assumptions. Rather than presenting alternative models to the philosophy of materialism, universities regularly sell out to economic interests and thereby grant tacit approval to the two-dimensional cosmology of Flatland. Universities thus forsake their credibility as the custodians of education and, rather than questioning the integrity of the world we have created, become silent instruments of indoctrination and socialization for the economic machine.

“In the modern age, the myth of the celestial ascent is replaced by the favorite myth of American culture: climbing the corporate ladder. The pursuit of excellence, which formed the basis of Greek civilization, is replaced by (or equated with) the pursuit of higher sales or a higher salary. And the realization of an individual’s intrinsic humanity through art, creativity, and learning is replaced by yet another end: acquiring the trapping of social status.”]

The Principle Of Relativity Includes In Itself The Observing Intellect End Of Life Story Chapter 5

January 15, 2010

My conversation with the Devil continues to cite the connectivity problems that arise in the micro universe and then draws upon Relativity theory for confirmation of the necessary opposites that shape God’s footprint. In the discussion of temporality that follows—given the theory of God’s footprint—the message is that because unidirectional time is not found in space-time human beings are free to seek knowledge, make decisions and reverence the God of all possibilities!

God’s Physical Footprint Answers So Many Questions

Relativity Is A Theory Made To Order For A Consciousness That Is Independent Of Events

Future Time Nine Continued

“God’s footprint answers so many questions,” said MV, “fundamental questions, like, why are we here?”

“We’re here,” I replied, “because God is free.”

“Yes, of course,” responded MV, “but it’s in the details that we find answers to the really difficult questions and the more we focus on these details the more meaningful God’s footprint becomes. For instance, why are the parameters of the universe—the relative strengths of gravity and electromagnetism [so far, three dozen and counting (Laszlo, 2004)]—so fine-tuned to the existence and survival of life? Our connection to a friendly universe is just one of the ‘connectivity problems’ that must be dealt with. God’s footprint becomes more meaningful when the observation problems relating to the collapse of the wave function and/or the wave/particle dualities (Bohr’s complementarity theory) are considered. But the real connectivity stumper, and where God’s footprint also comes into play, is found in our participation in a quantum event that instantaneously connects us to an event theoretically on the other side of the universe. That connection presupposes a whole different kind of connection. It’s that kind of connection that David Bohm was referring to when he pointed out that in the two basic theories of physics-Relativity and quantum mechanics—there are “entirely contradictory concepts which have not been brought together; this is one of the problems that remain. They both agree, however, on the unbroken wholeness of the universe, although in different ways.’”

“Now I’m lost,” I said, “what does all that have to do with God’s footprint?”

“Remember, from a structural perspective, the footprint remains a closed system,” responded MV, “but, in terms of content, there’s more to the footprint than closure. The formulation rules of structure, affirmative ideal, transformation, wholeness, and self-regulation, permit the structuring process some degree of freedom, which, ultimately, works to transform the ‘micro world’s duality based structure/content form’ into a more ‘independent, structure content form,’ or the independent form of consciousness and events; and further, when this independent form of consciousness turns it’s lens back upon duality based structure/content, the limiting aspect of structure/content—complementarity—comes into focus.”

“Whatever you say,” I replied, “But what about Relativity? How can Relativity and the duality bound nature of the micro world be consistent?”

“You’re not listening,” said MV. “Relativity is a theory made to order for a consciousness that is independent of events. In fact, a consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. Indeed, the working concepts in Relativity, — determinism, locality, and continuity, are not only used to describe what Relativity takes to be the interdependent relationships that exist between observers, reference frames, and physical events, these concepts may also be used to describe, at least in part, the closed system structure of God’s footprint. That said, however, micro level structure is different from macro level structure, and there’s the rub. Remember, form is content for a higher form and content is form relative to some inferior content. When the observer penetrates duality based structure/content form, ~~b, the observer’s independent relationship with the event comes to an end. This consequence is the result of the closed system nature of God’s footprint.”

“I’m listening but I still don’t understand,” I replied. “Do you mean that Relativity explains physical phenomena in the macro world because the structure/content of b~b~bb permits self-consciousness to exist independent of the events, while, at the micro level Relativity does not explain physical phenomena because physical phenomena, at that level, is really an inferior form of the b~b~bb structure/content?”

“Precisely,” responded MV. “The concepts of indeterminism, non locality, and discontinuity are the concepts that best describe physical phenomena at the micro level of experience. And further, it is precisely those participation problems found in quantum physics, ‘the agencies of observation problems,’ which validate the existence of God’s footprint!”

The Self, ~bb, Generates The Salience Of Cognitive Objects

Future Time Nine Continued

“Ok, help me out here,” I replied. “Let’s walk through this, or better yet, let me take it from here. You correct me if I’m wrong. Going back to the basics; were talking about God’s freedom and the liberation of consciousness. It begins with a simple footprint; that is, the micro world’s duality based, ‘structure/content form,’ or ~~b. Consciousness, in this simple footprint, is caught between the two ‘nots,’– not this, not that. However, the footprint grows when the ‘two nots’ become, after a structural transformation, caught in the life/death struggle that we call life. In this higher structure/content form, God’s footprint expands, and consciousness becomes freer. But wait, it’s not over yet. Another structural transformation occurs and God’s footprint expands again thus liberating an even freer form of consciousness. In this new structure/content form, consciousness becomes independent of its surrounding environment and begins to think for itself–becomes self-consciousness. How am I doing?”

“Not bad,” said MV, “but we’re supposed to be taking this somewhere. It’s about the details; the implications, remember?”

“I’m getting there, be patient,” I replied, “in fact, I am there! It’s all starting to come back to me now. It’s right there in the transformation between the consciousness of struggle– life–and the higher consciousness of independent thought. When life consciousness transforms into self-consciousness temporality or ‘time of mind’ is birthed and from this new born the spirit of self-liberation follows. In fact, I included ‘time of mind’, the ~bb structure of b~b~bb, in my thesis. To get an acceptable thesis I had to write a paper explaining what my thesis was going to be about and I remember how difficult it was to talk about structure without talking about the structure of b~b~bb. Instead, I talked about the inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, or the ‘time of mind’ aspect of mind. Fortunately, my thesis was approved. Here’s a bit of the summation that I used to convince my professor to let me write my thesis:

[This argument will begin with a description of Descartes’ cogito (Flew, 1979), giving specific attention to the “identity inference” implied by this cogito. This inference is described by Anscombe (Ed. Cassam,1994, p152) as: “The thinking that thinks this thought–that is what is guaranteed by cogito”. I will then describe how the self (when the self is understood in terms of the triadic relationship, “me-self,” negation of the “me-self,” and, “I-self”) offers a different conceptual basis from which to derive the “identity inference” without attaching itself to Descartes’ excess baggage, or, as this baggage is described by Hermans, et al., (1993, p. 39), “the existence of a unitary, closed, highly centralized subject or self, as an entity in itself, having an existence ‘above’ or ‘outside’ the social environment.”

With the triadic self-concept in place, I will then proceed to describe why “a relativity to a basis,” according to Evans (Ed. Cassam, 1994, p. 196), “becomes a conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates,” and, why acquiring knowledge (accessing the truth or falsity of knowledge) invokes an act of self-reference where the subject is required to reflect on the credibility, or basis, of the knowledge in question.

From this model of a triadic concept of self I will be able to forcefully argue that much of what Mead (1934) and James (1890) described as the socially generated component parts of self are, in fact, an accurate description of self. However, I will also argue that, as a consequence of the conditional attribute of the self-ascription of mental predicates, a second, inner component of self is at work. It is this inner component of self that generates the salience of cognitive objects, and, in so far as this inner-self is capable of instantiating inner directed values, e.g., numbers, sets, multi-valued logics, this inner-self makes possible the hypothetical-deductive method of scientific explanation and prediction. It is relevant that the source of these inner values can be traced to the space that differentiates the self into a “neither this” (social), “nor that” (individual), circumstance, as opposed to Descartes’ “clear and distinct ideas.” Since the time of Descartes, these “clear and distinct ideas,” have been considered the source of these inner values and, hence the source of rational thought.]

“Just to get clear on one point,” said MV, “this ‘time of mind’ that you refer to, is that the same as the measured time of clocks?”

“No, it’s different, but it is embedded in the time of clocks,” I replied, “because it is an event. Einstein revolutionized space and time by merging the two in his space-time concept, but ‘time of mind’ is not included in space-time. However, space-time includes ‘time of mind’s negative condition.’ In fact, it is the negation of ‘time of mind’ which, on a structural level, closes God’s footprint, the footprint that now incorporates the independent form of consciousness and events.”

“Since you have already worked this subject over in your writing,” said MV, “I see no point in continuing this conversation. Instead, let’s take a look at your expanded explanation. I will say this, though, your particular sense of ‘time of mind’ may not be included in Einstein’s space-time, but the consciousness that is independent of events is one of the underlying principles of Relativity. This is not my belief; rather, it comes from no less of an authority than Hermann Minkowski, the first person to see the four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded in relativistic equations. According to Minkowski:

“The principle of relativity includes in itself the observing intellect, which is a circumstance of the greatest importance…this principle gives indications concerning things which take place in moving bodies, not only in relation to physical and chemical phenomena, but also in relation to phenomena of life, and therefore also to the quest of man. It is remarkable as an example of a thesis based on strictly scientific experiment in the purely physical domain, which bridges the gulf between two worlds generally considered to be of different nature.” (P.D. Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p. 104)

Time And Problem Solving Are Interdependent

Science deals with time on three levels. There is the time, which following from Newton’s laws of motion, is used to predict the future of moving objects. It terms of our solar system, this is the time that allows for space travel. Reflecting on this time, the French mathematician Laplace declared that the existence of God was an unnecessary hypothesis. He realized that the initial conditions at the birth of the universe predetermined everything, thus everything becomes predictable, — both backwards and forwards. There is also the time encountered in thermodynamics and in the biological sciences—a unidirectional arrow of time. According to the second law of thermodynamics energy dissipates while entropy (disorder) increases, or, in other words, things decay. A third level of time is found in Relativity and in quantum mechanics. This time gets measured by the t-coordinate in an undifferentiated continuum, and, according to Denbigh, “if this coordinate is ‘taken for real’ as has been the tendency among many scientists and philosophers, the familiar distinction between past, present and future, so important in human affairs, comes to be regarded as a mere peculiarity of consciousness” (Kenneth Denbigh, Three Concepts of Time, 1981, p. 4).

In the above time examples, time and problem solving become co-dependent. This dependency is itself dependent, from the perspective of freedom’s dialectic, on the space of implication or ~bb. We are free to problem solve and act on our environment in a consistent and systematic manner. We acquired this freedom only after embedded consciousness, after a lengthy evolutionary journey, liberated consciousness’s implicative aspect in human consciousness.

The Unidirectional Flow Of Time Is About Conservation

Identifying The Absence Of The “Unidirectional Time” In The Negative Space Of Freed Embedded Consciousness, We Are Once Again Brought Back To The Realization That If It were Not For The Four-Dimensional Space Time Aspect Of Freed Consciousness, You And I Would Not Be Free In A World Of Our Own Experience, Making Decisions, Seeking Knowledge, And Paying Reverence To The God That Has Made All This Possible

Temporality Concluded

Discontinuity occurring in continuity, or ~bb, in freedoms dialectic, permits the dissociations that help build, one upon another, the fruits of civilization. But, on a more personal note, one can also fall victim to the culturally imposed conformity that acts to stifle intelligence and creativity. In this respect, the practice of dissociation breathes fresh air into the dull mental habits that suffocate creativity and imagination. Here’s what Douglas Hofstadter has to say about this kind of dissociation. He calls it “jumping out of the system”:

“One can certainly jump from a subsystem of one’s brain into a wider subsystem. One can step out of ruts on occasion. This is still due to the interaction of various subsystems of one’s brain, but it can feel very much like stepping entirely out of oneself…This drive to jump out of the system is a pervasive one, and lies behind all progress in art, music and other human endeavors” (Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 1979, p. 25)

In much the same way as Hofstadter suggests, the necessary condition, in my opinion, that allowed Einstein to jump out of the system of absolute time (in his attempt to reconcile the results of the Michelson Morley experiment) is found in the implicative, unidirectional temporal nature of ~bb, — the same “time of mind” that identified reversible time and entropy. In fact, one has to look no further than the communication of meaningful sentences for evidence of the primary character of unidirectional time. Not only does ordinary experience support this claim, but so to does Relativity theory.

Sense experience moves in one direction only. In perception and cognition we cannot unsee, unhear, unsmell, untouch, and unknow. According to freedom’s dialectic, rational discourse is a product of unidirectional time, but also, according to freedom’s dialectic, unidirectional time is embedded in its opposite condition. We may then ask, what is the opposite condition of unidirectional time? Fortunately, for confirmation of “time of mind’s opposite,” we need only look to the implications of Relativity theory. In the book, Ideas and Opinions, Einstein describes the significance of the four-dimensional space-time continuum with special emphasis placed on the fate of the now:

“The four-dimensional structure (Minkowski-space) is thought of as being the carrier of matter and of the field…Since there exist in this four-dimensional structure no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four-dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three—dimensional existence” (Einstein, Ideas And Opinions, 1954, p. 371).

And, agreeing with Einstein, Hermann Minkowski, the creator of the four-dimensional space/time continuum (he discovered the mathematical significance of relativistic equations) says this about “time of mind’s negative condition”:

“In the universe all is given: for it there is no past or future, it is—the eternal present; it has no limits either in space or in time. Changes take place in individualities and correspond to their displacement along the world ways in the four-dimensional, eternal and boundless manifold. In the domain of philosophic thought these ideas should produce a greater revolution than the displacement of the earth from the center of the universe by Copernicus” (P.D Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, 1982, p.105).

Identifying the absence of “unidirectional time” in the negative space of freed embedded consciousness, we are brought back to the realization that were it not for the conditional aspect of space-time, we would not be free to pursue agendas (for the most part agendas of our own choosing), make decisions, seek knowledge, achieve goals, and, reverence the Divinity that makes it all possible.

Whole Universe Of Necessary Opposites End Of Life Story Chapter 4

January 9, 2010

The back and forth banter between the devil and I continues as our conversation moves into, via examples of aesthetic religious traditions, a discussion of the universe and the necessary opposites that frame the universe. Without these opposites there would be no bumble bees, frogs, whales, polar bears…; no music, cell phones, hospitals, universities…; no coliseums, museums, markets, billionaires…; no planets, sunshine, galaxies, black holes…Big Bang.

We Do Not Become Conscious Of The Universe The Universe Becomes Conscious Of Consciousness

The Sectarian Nature Of Brahman Is Not The Ultimate Expression Of Religion

Future Time Nine Continued

“We must shift gears here,” said MV, “and think of the universe not as something that consciousness defines, but, rather, as something that defines consciousness, and yes, I think this premise does include Whitehead’s philosophy, but taking a structural approach to this idea is a bit of a stretch, hence your inability to communicate it.”

“You don’t have to tell me what I already know,” I replied. ‘However, in the aesthetic religions of Buddhism, the Upanishad philosophy in Hinduism, and the Chinese Tao Te Ching, you also see the principle of ‘divine necessary opposites.’”

“How so,” responded MV.

“Take, for instance, the atman/Brahman distinction in the Upanishads; the ancient sages of India perceived no chasm between nature, humanity, and divinity. As the source of being, Brahman was the manifestation of all existence. But, for the wise sage, Brahman and atman are one, atman been the “seed of individuality,” or what we call in the West “self.” This unity follows because at the source of being lies double negation and after the appropriate transformations this same double negation ends up in the more complex structure of b~b~bb, the structure that grounds human individuality. In the Brahman/atman/self distinction double negation implies the affirmation of nature, humanity, and divinity, and,—as above as below—this affirmation is embedded in the necessary opposites of divinity. In the language of my synchronic description of the universe, double negation turns into the ‘self-content’ of self-consciousness, or the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self. And again, in the language of Christian mysticism, the double negative turns into what the Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, called the ‘purest form of unity.’ A word of caution here, though, just because the Upanishads and Christian mysticism may celebrate the same source, they remain products of different religious traditions; this follows from the b~b~bb structure that grounds human individuality. In other words, the sectarian nature of any religion speaks only through its own tradition because all religions are a product of the individuality that speaks through the form of b~b~bb, which, in turn, lies embedded in nature, humanity, and divinity. The Buddhist tradition comes as close as any tradition in expressing this idea. Here’s how one of my old Professors expressed divinity from a Buddhist perspective:

[“There is a cloud here in this piece of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either.

The cloud and the paper inter-are. Perhaps the word ‘interbeing’ should be in the dictionary.

If we look deeply, we see that in the paper there is also the sun; nothing can grow without sunshine. The paper and the sun inter-are.

We can see the logger. The mill (and its effluent). We see the wheat from fields that fed the logger. For there is no paper without the logger, and the logger cannot log without daily bread. Likewise, the logger’s father and mother are also in this paper.

Looking deeply, we see ourselves in the paper. When we look at the paper, it is our perception; your mind and my mind meet in this paper, and we are both there.

What is NOT here in the sheet of paper? Time, space, the earth, rain, minerals, the sun, cloud, river, heat—everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains the universe in it. How can it fit?

The paper entirely depends upon non-paper elements, things that are not in themselves paper, such as carbon, and the sun, and the logger’s mother. And yet without them, there is no paper.

To be is to inter-be with every things, non—us things. Like the paper, we are inevitably vast; we include all that is other than ourselves.

As one Civil War nurse (Walt Whitman) said, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” When we pay close attention to who we really are, there is no one else, no one who is left out.

Acting from this understanding, service is not a strained sacrifice, but a natural activity. Within this mind, helpful care is not exactly compassion for another, but more like a reflex, a spontaneous gesture.

The right hand does not congratulate the left hand on having given to the poor.

No credit, no blame. No Trace. This is Buddha.”]

Adapted by Guy Newland from “Interbeing” in “Peace is Every Step” (Bantam, 1992) by Thich Nhat Hanh

Future Time Nine Continued

“Yes,” said MV, “but necessary opposites encompass so much more than what your so-called sages have revealed, and excuse me if your examples do not impress. All Saintly beings, not to mention sinners, exist because I exist. Without me existence blinks out of existence, and yet in your celebration of clever geniuses I do not recall hearing praise for me! I am the source, sustainer, and slayer of everything and my shadow is long and feared, as it should be. Oblivion is only an instant away, if you catch my drift. Enough said!”

“Do as you please,” I replied, “but there’s more. In the Chinese symbol, Tai Chi, or what is commonly recognized as the yin/yang symbol, the black and white complementary parts of embedded circles, there is, from my point of view, all the divine necessary opposites represented. The divided nature of the circle expresses freedom’s form, ~~b, and, the back and white contrasts in the circle, denote the different levels of consciousness, ~bb and b~b~bb.

“Again, in the self-awakening philosophy of the Japanese Mahayana Buddhist, Nishida, freedom is discussed in terms of the logic of basho, or the interconnectivity of three different pulses of freedom. Freedom, for Nishida, is not a manifestation of being; rather, being is a manifestation of freedom. Everything that is, is within the interconnectivity of basho. The logic of basho works to support and restrict all beings. The logic consists of (1) ground–absolute nothingness, which, in turn, connects with (2) the basho of relative nothingness, which, in turn, exists only in relation to (3) it’s opposite, the notion of being. Interconnected with all of these bashos –relative nothingness, being, and absolute nothingness—is the pulsing, creative nothingness that emerges from and returns to the basho of absolute nothingness. What I am hearing in Nishida’s philosophy is my description of freedom’s liberation. The ground state, or absolute nothingness/absolute affirmation, (~~b), connects to the higher levels of freedom through the medium of the conservation of necessary opposites. It is Liberation throughout, but freedom, at each level, exists within its own unique restrictive environment—physical/duality, life/death, individual/factual events. Everything that is then exists within the interconnectivity of the logic of necessary opposites, which, in turn, liberates, supports, and restricts the aesthetic continuum, life, and the “knowing” of self-conscious beings. Ultimately, in Nishida’s awakened state, there is no distinction between inside/outside, whole/part, or, for that matter, there is no distinction between transcendence, immanence, and freedom. Does any of this sound familiar?

Well, from my point of view,” responded MV, “I could care less! Academic comparisons mean shit to me! Show me the Devil in any of that and I will salute, but until then you’re just killing time, and, I might add, the time of killing is what delivered you over to me in the first place. Do I make myself clear?”

“Fine,” I said, “then show me God. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?”

“I’ll show you God in due time,” replied MV, “but first you have to get clear on the necessary opposites of divinity. Your not there yet, or you can’t remember, which is it? You’re slipping into reverse. Too bad about that! You don’t want to listen to me, so how about listening to yourself. It’s important to stay physical here. Guess what, it’s time to go back to the future! “

“Okay, let’s go back,” I replied, “back to where you are much more comfortable. First we’ll look at the divine necessary opposites and then we’ll see how all that plays out in terms of Relativity and Quantum physics.

Door Into Language, Myth, Religion, Art, And Knowledge Creation

The Logic Of Divine Necessary Opposites—The Logos Incarnated

The idea that consciousness pervades the universe is not new. The Greek philosopher, Heraclites, believed that a non-human intelligence or the Logos ordered everything. For Heraclites, all the discrete elements of the world were organized into a coherent whole and the Stoics, picking up on this idea, turned the Logos into God—the God that is the source of all rationality. But, those ideas were developed some 2400 years ago. Can the Logos be equated with the universe and all its elements today? When the noted logician, Alburey Castell, was confronted with a similar question, he responded:

“Suppose the sciences divided into four major groups: the mathematical, the physical, the biological, and social. Suppose the philosophical disciplines also divided into four major groups: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. Where among these does logic belong? Is it a fifth in either group? Or a subdivision of some one of the eight divisions? It seems to me to be neither of these, but somehow common to all divisions. The nerve of every science and every discipline is inference, or argument. In every science and every discipline two questions are always being asked, and their answers sought: If these facts are granted, what follows? From what prior facts do these follow? That is If P, then what? And, Upon what does P rest?” (A College Logic, 329)

Before I begin to answer the question –Upon what does P rest? I want to talk, a little bit about the law of logical contradiction and the meaning of negation.

“The laws of logic,” says the Dictionary of Philosophy, “are regulative principles governing the pursuit of knowledge and the construction of scientific theories (and, for me at least, are grounded in the nature of the reality that we seek to know). Seen in this way, logic is the most general of all sciences… To assert a contradiction would be to depict things as being one way and yet at the same time not that way. But nothing can be p and not-p at the same time. To believe a contradiction is thus to hold as true something that is necessarily false” (Antony Flew, 1979, p.210). What the rule of non-contradiction means in practical terms is that if a contradiction is found in a work of reasoning then that work is of little or no value. On the other hand, if a reasoned work identifies the condition for the possibility of any contradiction whatsoever, then that work would be valuable indeed!

As regards negation: It is true that the meaning of negation is a product of language and the laws of logic cannot be totally separated from the socially instituted conventions of language, but the conventions for the use and meaning of negation are not arbitrary. The capacity to know what can and cannot be asserted in any language will rest upon negation and the law of non-contradiction—the minimum condition for speaking sensibly. What follows is the logical form that births language, and, for me, answers the question– Can the Logos be equated with the universe and all its elements?

Let one side of the V represent the empirical world (aesthetic continuum) and the other consciousness. Identify the vertex, the V bottom, as ~~b (not, not-being). Not, not-being then, characterizes the entire V as it also implies that which lies outside the V—the indeterminacy of God, or, more to the point, an affirmation of the indeterminacy of God. Somewhere above the V vertex, on the consciousness side of the V, let the letter b represent life and ~b represent the negative space of life (~b on the empirical side). Life moves freedom forward and in this case upward too. Further up the V, let ~bb (discontinuity occurring in continuity-Sartre’s structured for-itself) represent the next stage of freedom—the participatory moment of a conscious self, and let b~b (continuity occurring in discontinuity-the negative condition of self-consciousness) represent (on the empirical side of the V) the embodied physical event of human consciousness. Freedom again moves forward, only now in the form of embodied human consciousness. The V grows larger (and wider) as the story of civilization unfolds.

Well, that’s it, the logical model of freedom’s dialectic! Oh, by the way, freedom’s dialectic is the answer to the question –Upon what does P rest? More specifically, however, P rests on the experience of ~bb (discontinuity occurring in continuity). This experience opened the door to meaningful symbol creation, and that door swung forward into the creation of language, myth, religion, art, theoretical knowledge, and the civilizing processes that we call “civilization”. But, not to forget, all of this rests on the pre-existing liberating processes of liberation that come together in human consciousness, and, ultimately, on the “ground condition” of affirmed Divinity. Freedom’s dialectic is at once bond and liberation, bond as Divine affirmation and liberation as consciousness progressively becomes freer!

Self-Aware Consciousness In Physics Remains A Unifying Occurrence

The Hole In Self-Consciousness, The Hole That Denies The Possibility Of My Ever Becoming Fully Self-Aware, The Hole That Condemns Me To Freedom, That Hole Truly Becomes A Unifying Occurrence Of The First Order

Freed consciousness is self-aware, but, in the broadest sense, self-aware consciousness remains a unifying occurrence. One of the interesting consequences of both Relativity and quantum physics is that both imply wholeness. David Bohm writes:

“Relativity and quantum physics agree in suggesting unbroken wholeness, although they disagree on everything else. That is, relativity requires strict continuity, strict determinism, and strict locality, while quantum mechanics requires just the opposite—discontinuity, indeterminism, and non-locality. The two basic theories of physics have entirely contradictory concepts which have not been brought together; this is one of the problems that remains. They both agree, however, on the unbroken wholeness of the universe, although in different ways.” (The Reenchantment of Science, p, 65)

As Bohm points out, quantum mechanics and Relativity seem to be describing the same reality with contradictory concepts. These contradictions disappear in freedom’s dialectic. Self-consciousness is embedded in its own negative space—continuity, determinism, and locality. This negative space becomes the necessary condition for a physical event to occur. Thus, determinism, locality and continuity allow for the reductionist methods of science to work; that is, until science penetrates deep into that area where the integrity of the physical universe breaks down, where the deterministic motions of mass points no longer exist!

At the depths of the “material world” there exists a fuzzy world that exhibits behavior only when we observe it– when we separate ourselves from it. There we find a physical reality with no uniquely determinable location, a physical reality that exists in several states at the same time, and a physical reality structured by a mathematical equation. Do we find there also the “ground negation” that connects all subsequent levels of negation and affirmation—the affirmation that connects everything to everything? If we do then the connectivity problems found at the quantum level of our experience begin to make sense!

In freedom’s structural form, two forms stand out. The same attributes that arise from the structure of self-consciousness– discontinuity, indeterminism, and non-locality—also arise from the ground structure. Both of these structured forms generate implication. At “ground,” implication simply affirms. On the level of self-consciousness, implication opens up the possibility of the world-historical-process. In other words, the negation that lies at the center of self-consciousness, the same one that births logic, language, creativity, inquiry, analysis, conscience, and imagination, also fuzzies up the world at the quantum level of physics. Because observation (and affirmation) takes place in the space of continuity, determinism and locality– self-consciousness’s embedded physical condition— there is an unavoidable clash of worlds—the world of Relativity clashes with the world of quantum physics. Bottom line—Relativity accurately describes natural phenomena. Einstein’s equations, when applied to physical events, accurately describe our relationship, as participating agents, in a physical universe. Likewise, the physics of quantum mechanics accurately describes natural phenomena. Only the phenomena being described are “fuzzy” because, as it is throughout freedom’s dialectic, the space that separates also embeds and connects. In other words, on the quantum level, self-consciousness confronts its own ground condition in the form of the “quantum strangeness” that gets experienced at that level of experience.

Ultimately, from it’s most holistic perspective, freedom’s dialectical structure (opposites are necessary to conserve wholeness) tells us: Were it not for the negative space/condition of determinism, continuity, and locality, human consciousness—the consciousness of discontinuity, non-locality, and indeterminism– would not be free in a world of our own experience (by degrees, experience of our own choosing), seeking truth, justice, and religious meaning!

God Cares End Of Life Story Redemption Chapter 3

January 1, 2010

This post continues with a brief conversation between the devil and myself, and then switches over to an earlier conversation which is itself a continuation of the God’s Footprint–Determinism conversation of several posts back. That dialogue was set high in the Canadian Rockies where Stan, the English professor, Noel, the Philosophy professor, and Tony, the Physics professor, were trying to figure out the significance, if any, of the conceptual differences underlying the physics of the macro world, Relativity, and the micro world, quantum mechanics; however, in this post the dialogue moves away from physics and picks up with Stan’s interpretation of Whitehead’s process philosophy.

With The Courage To Face The Mystery The Possibility Of Communion Arises

Future Time Nine Continued

“You do realize,” said MV, “that growing closer to God is kind of a ‘coming of age journey’ and the first step in that journey is the one where you leave behind your parent’s home.”

“Tell me more,” I replied.

“Think of your parent’s house as whatever makes you comfortable,” responded MV, “upon leaving home, all preconceived notions about the world, — security and expectations, — all must go. And, as you have already pointed out, with the arrival of quantum physics, even some physicists have found themselves ‘coming of age,’ so to speak; when the concepts of causality and localization no longer apply, when the ordered world of space and time turns into a topology puzzle, there’s no going home again. Leaving solid ground behind is a scary thought, don’t you agree?”

“Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also an opportunity.”

“That’s my boy,” responded MV. “You had a good teacher eh! When an observer’s reference frame determines the veracity of measurement, and the ground under foot dissolves, that’s when the opportunity for a new kind of communion and comfort zone arises, albeit one that requires the courage to face the mystery head on and imagine new possibilities.”

“What you are saying won’t make sense to a person tucked away in their self-made protective cocoon,” I responded. “You’d be wasting your breath there! It’s too bad it took me so long to learn that lesson. I could have avoided a lot of grief if I had been just a little bit smarter.”

“Yes, you were slow,” replied MV, “but don’t be too hard on yourself. Life’s an investment you know, and everybody wants their monies worth. Even if all the evidence is against you, it’s very difficult to cast your fate to the wind and start over. It’s impossible for some people to give up their cocoon. That’s why leaving solid ground is such a scary thought—and it should be! But, getting back to the point; after a struggle, you succeeded in making sense out of those freedom and consciousness issues. It’s just too bad you couldn’t communicate that success to others. But, look on the bright side, you’ve still got me! And since I’m the ‘enabler’ here, you don’t need anybody else. Enjoy your success, and besides, it’s only a matter of time before others figure it out. Actually, your work is not that hard to comprehend. Your two term approach to reality, as opposed to Locke’s three term approach, certainly was a good start.”

“Yes, that was the beginning for me,” I replied. “When I gave that presentation back in 1981 I knew I was onto something, but I didn’t know where those ideas would eventually take me. Maybe that’s par for the course, though; after all, here I am asking the Devil to tell me about God.”

“You might say I’m helping you to remember your own work,” responded MV, “it’s a good thing too because you need all the help you can get. And, as far as giving credit where credits due is concerned, I’m the best one for the job!”

“Your reputation for humility precedes you,” I replied. “I’ll just ignore that last comment if you don’t mind. Anyway, let’s review Whitehead’s process reality; not only did Whitehead create a philosophy around the freedom-consciousness connection, he also articulated a unique understanding of divinity.

“As you wish,” replied MV.

Whitehead’s Occasions Imparted A Kind Of Sentience To Nature

Alfred Lifted The “Process” Out Of The Philosopher (Kant) And Put It Squarely Back Into Nature Where It Belonged

Consciousness All The Way Down

As I was saying in a previous post, my theory of knowledge, or the consciousness/aesthetic continuum theory of knowledge, replaces Locke’s consciousness/appearance/material world theory of knowledge. Immanuel Kant was, however, the first to eliminate the necessity of Locke’s appearance concept from knowledge. Sense experience, for Kant, was filtered through twelve categories of understanding, categories that mentally “structured” our experience of the so-called material world. In other worlds, Kant’s categories permitted knowledge of our “experienced world.” For both Kant and Locke, however, consciousness and knowledge were considered a unique human experience. Whitehead’s process philosophy changed all that.

The role of consciousness in Whitehead’s philosophy was not restricted to human awareness. For Whitehead, consciousness was not a secondary attribute of the world; rather, it became the primary attribute. His process philosophy was developed after Kant, Einstein, and the revolutionary advances of quantum physics had totally deconstructed the worldview of the 18th and 19th centuries. What follows is a three-way conversation set in the Canadian Rockies between university professors; a rendering of an actual event which took place back when Peter (my backpacking partner) and I met up with these three professors while backcountry hiking in Jasper National Park. The conversation below, however, is fictionalized. The dialogue represents my efforts to come to terms with my reading of Whitehead’s philosophy.

The Conversation Continued

“Wouldn’t you know it,” said Stan, “I’ve lost my train of thought. But I do have a few more observations, albeit a little off topic.”

“Go for it,” said Noel, “it’s time to move on anyway.”

“Well, it’s not totally new,” Stan replied, “it’s just that when I was listening to your bantering, I felt like I had heard it all before. In my youth I studied Alfred North Whitehead. In fact, he inspired my desire to attend Harvard. He ended his career teaching there. Did you read him Tony?”

“No, I shy away from metaphysics,” responded Tony. “But I know about
him. You can’t go to Harvard without becoming familiar with prestigious alumnae.”

“Whitehead spent the first half of his academic career as a Professor of Mathematics,” Stan continued, ” he and Bertrand Russell attempted to prove that the axioms of number theory could be deduced from the premises of formal logic. Their book on that subject, Principia Mathematica, is quite famous. Whitehead also published another book on mathematics in which he formalized a set of rules and theorems, from which the theorems of Euclidean geometry are derivable. All this was done, for the most part, before Einstein published his famous theories. Whitehead, not surprisingly, took a keen interest in Einstein’s published works. And, like Cassirer, he
wrote a book on relativity theory; only in his book he disagreed with Einstein. As I recall he didn’t like the elevation of the velocity of light to a law of nature and he was critical of the flexible nature of space. Whitehead’s formalism was based on the premise of uniform space, or more precisely on the ‘non-contingent uniformity in spatial relations.’ As might be expected, in the scientific community, his ideas fell out of favor, but they played a
major role in the metaphysics that he developed latter in life. In that metaphysics, Whitehead lifted the ’process’ out of the philosopher (Kant) and put it squarely back into nature where he felt it belonged. Man, the symbol-generating animal, became instead, the product of process reality.”

“I guess this is as good a time as any to bid you fine fellows ado,” interrupted Peter, “It’s past my bedtime. But thanks for making my sleeping bag look so delicious. See you in the morning.”

“Sleep tight,” Stan replied, and then throwing another log on the campfire, he continued, “what you were saying about ‘organic unities of time’ constituting our inner sense of being really made me think about Whitehead. He too believed that ‘whole movements’ or ‘epochs’ constituted individual unities of experience. He called those unities of experience occasions and then he went on to base his metaphysics on those occasions. For him, occasions came all at once or not at all and ultimately provided nature with a kind of sentience. What’s interesting is that, at their most elementary level, where occasions are overlapping events, they still possessed a kind of sentience. Is anybody familiar with what I am talking about?”

“Yeah, it’s called animism,” replied Noel, “Eh, I’m only joking.”

Whitehead Understood Occasions To Be Processes Of Self-Development, Self-Creation

Elementary Events Overlap And Become Part Of The Actual World, Develop Into A Biosphere Full Of Sentient Qualities, Which In Turn, Develop Into The Very Words We Are Speaking Now

Conversation Continued

“Sure I’ve heard of Whitehead’s metaphysics,” said Noel, “but I haven’t studied it in any depth. As I recall he turned nature into a kind of sentient being, and thus sidestepped all the epistemological problems that arise in subject-object opposition and in the self-world dichotomy. But, in his philosophy, didn’t he understand occasions as processes of self-development, or even self-creation?”

“Yes, that’s exactly right,” Stan responded. “The idea was that an
occasion was a ‘prehending entity’ in active interaction with its whole environment. Whitehead thought of these ‘prehending entities’ as processes of self-formation with ‘subjective aim.’ They began as simple overlapping events, evolved, and, as they say, the rest is history. Right?”

“Of course,” said Noel, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, you
are aware that teleological explanations of the world are not just history, they’re ancient history! Isn’t that why we call it meta-physics, eh Stan?”

“Don’t forget about the problematic areas of science,” Stan responded. “Whitehead’s metaphysics speaks directly to those issues, especially the ones at the quantum level. Just hear me out.”

“I’m all ears,” replied Noel.

“Just as in quantum theory,” Stan continued, “where physical reality is at best, quasi-continuous, where successive leaps or vibrations of energy fuse together to form physical objects perceived by us as continuous, so too in Whitehead’s occasions we see physical experience taking place in leaps of becoming. His ‘process reality’ moves from becoming to being. For him, potentiality is rendered specific with the becoming of each event. What this all means is that the whole system that we take to be space and time literally
grows out of the way that events are systematically related to one another in nature.

“Again, in quantum mechanics, where the discontinuous existence of
fundamental particles forms the continuous existence of larger physical bodies, in Whitehead’s occasions there is a parallel state of affairs going on. First, elementary events overlap and become part of the actual world. Then these enduring occasions develop into a biosphere full of sentient qualities, which, in turn, develops into this–our present state of affairs, specifically, into the words we are speaking right now. But that is not the end of it. In fact, it doesn’t end. The ‘subjective aim’ of the occasion presses in upon the environing realities of all physical, biological, and psychological phenomena, and in combination with these realities, continues to create a more fully developed reality. Species evolve, and so it goes, one occasion after another, unfolding, pushing this ‘now’ into the past while receiving ‘what is’ and ‘will be,’ again and again. Novelty arises as new forms of self-expression and new vistas of self-fulfillment unfold. Ultimately, what is going on in Whitehead’s metaphysics—in addition to eliminating the subjective /objective split that occurs in the philosophies of Descartes, Locke, and Kant, is a ‘bootstrapping’ of self-development, a bringing into existence a more self-fulfilling, self- expressive, sentient nature.”

“This is getting too ethereal for me,” said Tony. “What’s next,
God?”

“Well, yes, that’s exactly right,” responded Stan, “But apart from the God thing, I believe Whitehead’s thought speaks directly to the concerns brought up in this conversation.”

“If you say so, “Noel replied,” but what about God? How did
Whitehead perceive God, anyway?”

If The Call Is For Retributive Justice The First Mirror Will Pinpoint The Guilty

In So Far As Self-Aim Conforms To Its Immediate Past, There Is Determinism, But In So Far As Any Entity Modifies Its Response Through The Subjective Element Of Feeling, There Is Freedom

Some Freedom Is Not Divine—God Cares

“If you say so, “Noel replied,” but what about God? How did Whitehead perceive God, anyway?”

“Same o, same o,” replied Tony, “as a redeeming father figure.”

“That’s not true,” said Stan, “Well, maybe it’s a little true, but it’s more complicated than that. Whitehead would be the first to admit that if religion didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. From a sociological point of view, it does too many things for too many people for it not to exist. Religion is necessary for another reason, though. It deals with permanence amid change, and for Whitehead that meant connecting the idea of permanence up with the idea of ‘extensive connection’, or the general ordering that takes place in process reality. In other words, God is co-continuous with all the ‘happenings’ of the world.”

“Go tell that to Dostoyevsky,” replied Tony, “As far as he was concerned God was a mass murderer of innocent children.”

“Okay, Tony, for the sake of Dostoyevsky, lets hold God accountable for all the world’s sins,” responded Stan, “but first lets look to see on whose behalf God exists. Remember, occasions are environing events with a self-aim; they represent the creation of novelty and change—and, as such, the entire physical universe is processing its way back to God–the conceptual, eternal, side of God. God is ‘eternal presence’ and bears witness to all past and present occasions. The future, however, is like an unused role of film. Being exposed, it is always in the process of being developed. The untimely deaths of innocents are part of that process, part of the internal constitution of God, as God works through the transition from the eternal to the actual, and from the actual back to the eternal. God is the reason for all becoming, and nothing exists that is separate from God. All ‘passing’ is absorbed back into the eternal witness of God.”

“That’s not good enough,” Tony replied, “whose pain or whose suffering is not the issue. The fact that there is way too much pain and suffering is the issue. With all the pain, cruelty, and injustice in the world, we just can’t let God off the hook, even if, as Whitehead believes, God shares in all of it. Believe me, God would be convicted by a jury of his peers.”

“Tony’s right,” Noel replied, “God has to go.”

“I’m not finished yet,” Stan responded, “there’s more than just witnessing what’s going on here. In fact, there’s a dynamic that shouts out for change; if indeed a retributive justice is called for here, then one has to look no farther then the first mirror to pinpoint the guilty.”

“Hold on! Who’s getting huffy now,” replied Tony, “I didn’t start this. I didn’t ask to be born. I’m just here, doing what I can to stay alive. How the hell can I be held responsible for God’s handiwork?”

“Do you feel sad when you see dying children,” said Stan.

“What’s that supposed to mean; of course I feel sad,” shot back
Tony, “but I can’t change it. I block it out of my mind.”

“Well that’s what brands you as guilty,” Stan replied. “It’s the playing out of those self-expressive, self-fulfilling feelings that you can’t avoid that gets you into trouble. Insofar as occasions conform to their environment, insofar as the ‘self-aim’ conforms to its immediate past, there is determinism, but insofar as any entity modifies its response through the subjective element of feeling, there is freedom. Feeling and freedom are codependent for Whitehead, and God is in touch with all feelings. He is there, inside agonizing screams, and He is there in all suffering, especially suffering caused by injustice. He is also there, however, in all hopes, joy, and happiness, in addition to fears, regrets, and sorrows. Good feelings move the world forward to a better place. It is feeling that gives subjective aim to occasions. We encounter, in good feelings, the ‘allure of realization.’ It is possible to create a more humane, peaceful, and loving world. Whitehead said as much, and Gandhi taught us how to proceed, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world’—both in life and love.”

“I must say, that’s an interesting brand of pantheism,” responded
Tony.

“It’s not pantheism,” replied Stan, “it’s a divinely anchored
process reality.”

“You can call it anything you like,” said Tony, “its still
pantheism.”

“Not according to Whitehead,” replied Stan, “The future is empty, and in that emptiness resides the freedom to create a better world– the freedom to replace emptiness with ‘goodness.'”

“Or the freedom to create a worse one,” interrupted Noel, “if change
is pervasive, it doesn’t have to be good.”

”True enough,” replied Stan, “accept the same God who is there inside another’s suffering and pain will not be there in the masochistic and sadistic cravings of those individuals who pleasure themselves by inflicting pain and suffering upon others. Nor will God be found in the laws of a society that refuse to recognize the destitute, oppressed, and persecuted—God’s children.”

“Do tell,” exclaimed Noel, “How can God be in touch with all feelings—your words not mine, yet be inside some feelings and not inside other feelings?”

“Feelings that preserve, perpetuate, and expand consciousness,” replied Stan, “always trump feelings that dehumanize, degrade, and destroy consciousness; the former is a product of divinity, the latter a product of neglect. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not proposing the impossible here; that is, the elimination of all negative feelings, but striving for that goal is divine. Everything else is just plain human.”

“I don’t know,’ said Noel, “Whitehead’s got himself a hard sell there. The God thing aside, nobody has ever been successful in merging feelings with reason, if indeed that’s what he’s trying to do. I’m afraid I just don’t buy it. It’s not doable. Go ask Plato if you don’t believe me.”

“Not doable because you don’t buy it,” said Stan, “or not doable
because it can’t be done?”

“Both,” replied Noel.

“That’s ditto from the scientific point of view,” chimed in
Tony.